Pubdate: Tue, 06 Jan 2004
Source: Compass, The (CN NF)
Contact:  P.O. Box 760, 176 Water Street, Carbonear, Newfoundland A2A 1T0
Fax: (709) 596-1700
Author: Lillian Simmons
Bookmark: (Youth)


RCMP Say Community Must Take Some Responsibility For Problem

Gus Gosse is sick of it.

The Back Cove, Spaniard's Bay resident says something "has to be done"
about the loitering and vandalism taking place around his

Last week he found home-made pipes on the recreation centre grounds
near his home and worries the kids hanging out there may be smoking
crack cocaine.

Mr. Gosse is sandwiched between the PetroCan station on the Conception
Bay Highway and the Spaniard's Bay Recreation Centre on Back Cove Pond

"They go to the Petro station, buy whatever and walk through my
property to the rec center," Mr. Gosse said. "Cars are coming in
dropping off kids at the centre. I don't know where they're getting
the alcohol. It's worse on weekends and holidays."

Mr. Gosse found the home-made drug paraphernalia last

"I put up no trespassing signs last night," he told The Compass Dec.
30. "They weren't up for three hours before they were torn down. I
found one on the ballfield this morning."

That was the same time he discovered the home-made pipes, fashioned
from two-litre plastic pop bottles and duct tape.

"I don't know if council and the RCMP are afraid or what. There's a
sign on the building that says no loitering after 9:30. I don't know
if they're unwilling or unable to do anything."

Mr. Gosse also found smaller pipes, one on the ground near a U-haul
trailer on the PetroCan parking lot directly behind his house.

According to Mr. Gosse the U-hauls, which are parked on the lot for
rental purposes, don't have locks.

"I've spoken to the manager of U-haul in St. John's about locking the
trailers. He told me the only way he'd lock the trailers is if I
bought the locks!"

Mr. Gosse said lately young people have been stealing Christmas lights
off his house and others in the neighbourhood.

"One lady had 20-odd taken," he said.

Another resident of the neighbourhood said the area is littered with
broken glass.

"Council comes in and tries to pick it up, but it's back again the
next night," the resident said. "There are 40 or 50 or more young
people hanging out there. We've called the cops, but it's 45 or 50
minutes later before they show up. Obviously there aren't enough patrols."

He said the situation is doubly worrisome because there are many young
children living in the area.

However, he also sympathizes with the young people.

"The youngsters have nowhere to go. There are no dance halls or snack
bars anymore."

He believes one of the problems is that the recreation centre, meant
as an outlet for young people, is closed. "If the rec centre was
opened and patrolled" the situation might be alleviated.

Other neighbours say they have called the RCMP on numerous

One man noted, "the cops have come down and said there's nothing they
can do. I can't tell you how many times we've called them."

Another said having had beer bottles thrown at the house has given her
a sense of uneasiness.

"You don't know what can happen. We can't go to bed at night till the
young people are gone. They come and sit on the front steps of my
house and when I ask them to move they tell me to Eff off."

Residents have gone to Spaniard's Bay Town Council with their concerns
and the town has met with RCMP to discuss the matter.

According to the Oct. 27 town council minutes, Corp. Lindsey Anstey
said there had only been six calls to the RCMP regarding that area in
past six months. He also pointed out some steps the town could take to
control loitering and added residents might do their part by fencing
their properties to prevent access.

"Corp. Anstey should spend more time looking for drinkers and drug
smokers rather than worrying about people's fences," Mr. Gosse
remarked. "A fence would cost me about $1,500 and I don't see why I
should have to put a fence up.

And it's not only young people from Spaniard's Bay hanging out at the
centre's grounds, he said.

"Kids from as far away as Cupids are getting dropped off here. They
sit around and drink and talk and smoke and do whatever. They're not
all bad kids," Mr. Gosse said, "but what's going to happen if they
find a kid overdosed in one of those U-hauls or behind the recreation
building some morning? I don't think half the parents realize what's
going on. Someone has got to do something!"

Crack not likely It doesn't appear likely the home-made pipes Mr.
Gosse found at the recreation centre were used for smoking cocaine.

Trinity Conception RCMP Sergeant Art Kelloway said "99.9 per cent of
our seizures are all marijuana."

The sergeant also said in 90 per cent of cases "neighbourhoods claim
they're reporting to police, but it turns out to be hearsay from one
to the other. When the final analysis is done," he said, "you find out
one complaint is phoned in over the period of a month."

Sgt. Kelloway believes problems with young people are a result of a
society that has forgotten about values.

"These are no aliens coming in here," he stressed. "These are your
neighbour's kids causing the problem and the community has to take
some responsibility for it too.

"We've all gotten so far away from basic morals. Everyone's wondering
why kids are doing what they do. We have kids like we do, because we
have parents like we do. When is everyone going to sit up and say we
are going to take responsibility for this problem?"

While he sympathizes with residents in the Back Cove neighbourhood, he
feels the situation is not one that can be handled entirely by police.

"The police force is only as good as the community it serves. Where do
you learn common decency if it's not from parents, schools, churches
or other organizations?"

Sgt. Kelloway is inviting the town and residents from the area to meet
with community policing officer Const. Marc Trioreau early in the new

"With input we can itemize the problems and try to work together as a
police force and community - with emphasis on the community.

"If we can help the kids, we'll alleviate some of the problems," he
adds. "It's up to the community to work as one."
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